A regular rant about the good, the bad, and the ugly of public relations. MOVING!!! to http://positiveposition.com/blog Please reset your bookmarks!!! Wait for redirection.
Saturday, September 17
Friday, September 16
Still plugging away
I could write a book.
I probably will.
I can't wait for the chance to start thinking about some of the PR lessons I've culled along the way with Katrina.
Bottom line -- we've stayed a step ahead, managed public/client expectations, and steered clear of negative publicity through good monitoring, good relationships, and good service.
And support the American Red Cross.
Friday, September 2
Katrina update coming.
I am tiring of 16-hour days with my former allies in the media, but they are eager to help me tell a great Red Cross story so I can't complain.
When I get a moment to reflect on what I've learned (including a lesson about ambush interviews) I'll post. (Someone ask me about our innovative use of e-mail?)
Howsabout a word of encouragement I can pass along to the Red Cross volunteers?
Sunday, August 28
There's something about that word that still rubs a lot of people the wrong way, yet there are those who put adverstising and marketing dollars behind it.
Ghetto Fries, it turns out, are French-fried potatoes topped with Merkt's cheddar cheese, giardiniera, gravy, barbecue sauce and raw onions.Apparently, the PR firm touting the fries got a little overzealous relying on the shock value of 'ghetto':
"GOT GHETTO? Max's Famous Italian Beef Serves Gotta-Have Ghetto Fries," shouted the publicist's headline.
"Got Ghetto on the brain?" the release continued. "You're not alone," then went on to describe the aforementioned Ghetto Fries as a "dish that has captured the attention and appetites of Chicagoans from the North to South sides."
Wednesday, August 17
News from the home front
Blogging is going to get slowed down for a little while, as I prepare for a tour of duty with the United Way as a "loaned executive." That's basically where your company decides you're valuable enough to help raise money, but expendable enough to do without.
There are some exciting things on the horizon, however. Seminars and personal coaching is beginning to pick back up, and there are a couple of organizations out there waiting on proposals to move forward. I'm also working on getting some of this seminar material on tape.
A lot of the information I provide to my consulting clients works within the small business environment as well. Yet these are the same businesses that don't have the resource or budget to bring me in for a large presentation.
I'm working with some pretty heady people on a format that will be easy to follow, engage the listener, and be more cost effective for those clients "in between." I'll be announcing more about those products as we get closer to rolling them out.
With that in mind, I'd like a bit of feedback from . What sorts of solutions are you seeking when it comes to better media relations and interviewing? What are the biggest pitfalls in your interoffice communication? How much would you benefit from being able to better tell "your story?"
Your input and encouragement are most welcome...
Tuesday, August 16
The do's and don'ts of "do's and don'ts."
When you're looking for help with interview coaching, you get what you pay for.
Try Googling "media relations" sometime, and see what turns up. There are a number of firms out there that put information on the internet (this one included.) What they rely on is a mistaken public notion that "if it's in print, it must be true."
Here's some of the advice I recently found on the PR Zoom Newswire:
"When talking with a reporter:Boy, does this get abused. I can't tell you how many people I interviewed who thought that starting every other sentence with "Well, Ike" or threw in a "The problem with our widgets, Ike, is..." It actually got in the way of getting the information in a usable form, and was highly annoying. You don't talk to your friends that way, do you?
• Make a note of the reporter’s name and the name of the media when the caller first offers identification. This serves two purposes: you have an accurate record so you can follow up to see how the story appears; and you can use the reporter’s name during the interview, to help you build rapport with the reporter.
• Provide sufficient evidence for your statements. Reporters love numbers: try to give them numbers whenever you can -- particularly when it helps you sell your own agenda.Yeah, reporters love numbers. NOT! The vast majority of reporters are actually very bad at math (just like the rest of society.) Some wear it as a badge of honor. Unless they operate on a specialized beat that requires background knowledge, you can count on a reporter to need help deciphering statistics, financial statements, polling data, economics, and just about anything else involving numbers you can't reach with your fingers. Seriously. If you just throw a stats at them, you are just as likely to have them misreported or misrepresented out of ignorance. Give them the context, and make sure they understand them. Don't try to obscure the truth with a flash of digits.
Reporters are, as a rule, experts at nothing. Treat them with respect, but don't assume they know everything. There is a lot of ego invested in being a "public figure" through the media, and many reporters (the young ones especially) will be hesitant to ask a question that appears elementary, or even stupid.
Being good conversationalists, they skirt the issue of the "dumb question" in the hopes of gleaning the answer through later context. If you've got a delicate detail, point of law, or sticky statistic, by all means take the extra time to make sure the reporter "gets it." You're less likely to insult their intelligence, and more likely to cause them a sigh of relief for answering the question they wouldn't dare ask.
(Note: Yeah, I use the internet to market myself too. The difference is that I have 16 years experience in news from which to tell you how a reporter thinks. I also have dozens of "articles" on this very blog that back up what I proclaim. Caveat Emptor.)
Friday, August 12
T.O. needs another Time Out
Today, we add one more reason why smart celebrities and athletes should get media training and interview coaching (past examples here, and here, and here.):
So you can avoid becoming the next Terrell Owens. The talented wide receiver may be one of the best in the game, but he doesn't think he's among the best compensated.
Head Coach Andy Reid sent him home for a week for mouthing off. (Yeah Terrell, we know he yelled at you first. That's what coaches do.) Reid told the media that he wouldn't have any further comment on the matter -- that the next conversation about it would be between himself and Owens. Fair enough.
Did Owens adopt a similar strategy? No way! With his agent by his side, Owens went on ESPN for more than eight minutes last night and blasted the team and the coach and the ownership and the media. It's all our fault that he isn't treated like an adult.
Had he sat there silently while agent Drew Rosenhaus did all the talking, it would have made for a better appearance. But this was more about "not getting disrespected." Never mind that the whole thing is a turn-off for the fans who can forgive his salary if he performs on the field.
T.O. needs to G-O and find some media coaching, and fast. Especially since he was recently with the San Francisco 49ers, and we know the quality of the media training players got there.